Devonport launch of HMS Avenger. The following short history was published in Reach plc’s ‘In Your Area’ published on 16th. August, 2019.
On this day 16th. August 1845 ‘The Illustrated London News’ carried the above antique print of the launch of the wooden paddle-wheel steamer HMS Avenger at Devonport Dockyard.
Described as a “truly magnificent steamer, which has only occupied about five months building,” she was initially ordered from Deptford Dockyard, on the River Thames.
Notwithstanding the poor weather on the day, “there was a very large attendance of spectators (and) the dockyard gates were thrown open to everyone who wished to be present.”
The ‘christening’ of the vessel was performed by Miss Harding. “The slender cord which bound the vessel to earth was instantly severed by the same gentle hand; the suspended weights fell with a crash upon the dog-shores; and the vessel, amidst the cheers of the assembled thousands, glided down the plane.”
Avenger was ‘jury-rigged’ for her journey to Deptford “for her engines, which are ready to be put on board.” She then returned to Devonport for fitting out and commission.
Avenger served with the Channel Fleet from 28 April 1846 to November 1847, when she was transferred to the Mediterranean.
She joined the Mediterranean Fleet in November 1847. One month later, on a passage from Gibraltar, she ran aground on the Sorelli Rocks off the Island of Galitand, near Malta, and was wrecked.
HMS Avenger was commanded by Captain Charles George Elers Napier, who went down with his ship, together with 247 sailors of a compliment of 256.